External only inspection required?

21 Replies

Hey everyone,

So I'm buying a house in Lincoln Park, mi and it's going to be my first flip. The city apparently only requires an inspection from the outside of the house. I want an inspection done inside as well but was wondering if anyone knew if it's something the city will do, or if I have to hire someone else? I can't get a hold of anybody at city hall to find out. Thanks in advance

@Tom West   who are you buying from?  If you are buying from the city or someone who says exterior inspection only then it means that is what they will allow.  You can ask for an interior inspection and you will pay for that inspection if they agree to it. sometimes this is specified due to occupancy or condition of the house.  If I understand what you are asking..

@Colleen F. I'm buying from a friend of the family who isn't even listing it for sale. The city's website says a seller is required to pay for the inspection which is $150 and only the external is required. I was hoping they would do a full insurrection if I paid the difference.

@Tom West that is a weird one that is probably a local thing. They likely just look for code violations. Here fire inspection is required by town only, nothing exterior.    You  probably don't want to pay the city to inspect, a home inspector will give you a full report on everything in the house and they will point out code issues. Just find a good one.

@Colleen F. That's what I figured. I know I should have an actual licensed inspector check it out for me but this is my first flip so I'm trying to keep costs down and avoid the 3 to 600 it will cost for an inspector.

@Tom West   a good inspector should help you identify key issues or major pitfalls  that are walk away items.   Save money using cheaper bathroom tile, or something else. Also if you get a good inspection you can better plan rehab costs. You could have a contractor walk through with you but they can miss things.

@Tom West the alternative is to have a plumber and electrician come in to estimate updates but that is probably best if you have plans.  And being in construction you know there is alot you will find behind the walls in those two areas.  Got trusted people you would use? 

@Tom West

I was able to reduce the selling price of most of my properties by using home inspection. The properties were all bought as is, but you will not know what is wrong with out inspection. I would jot ask for price reduction for issues I shoukd reasonably notice, bad floors, rotted siding, etc, bit I do ask for price concessions for items I would not reasonably notice, ac not working, roof leaking, mold in crawl space, hot water tank not working,, etc. Most home inspections ultimately saved me money.


Bought and sold a handful of houses but have never had anyone from the city building department involved.  Went to the city of Lincoln Park website, and sure enough it appears that they require someone from the city do an inspection- I always learn something new in these posts.  I found their "exterior inspection checklist" and put the link below.  Looks like you will be expected to fix any code violations they find.  I don't think you will get the city to do any sort of an upgraded inspection.  You will likely have to get a private inspector for that.


Question for the BP Community - Is it becoming more common for the city building departments to require an inspection during a real estate transaction?

Thank you everyone for the info. Everything inside looks good to me but I don't know about electrical or plumbing and I can't find a date on the water tank. I hope it's allowed so I'm sorry if it's not, but I'm posting pictures so if anyone can point out areas that need attention, I would greatly appreciate it.


@Tom West pictures are fine to post. I think you are only looking for electric and plumbing comments correct?   I would bet looking at that you would need some electrical updates, an inspector can help or bring your electrical contractor. I think all the electrical is supposed to be in the box, yours isn't.  I don't even see a cover.  You could post just this pic in a separate thread asking for electric input if you don't get any here. electric needed for vent above stove, but think you probably know that.  

It would be well worth paying someone to look at this house.

Your basement floor tile is probably asbestos and should be removed since it is so loose. And you have the classic window in the shower, lucky you!  good luck on the reno.

@Tom West , ask to join the Metro Detroit Real Estate Investors Group on Facebook. My husband and I have a rental in LP. City Inspectors do inside, but maybe it’s because it’s a rental.  Just call the City anonymously and ask questions...?  Congrats on your first flip. What area is it in?

@Tom West this is the city POS, just like the BS in Cleveland, Simple hire an inspection co to do the entire property . BTW, you are 100% NOT ready to do a deal on your own. I suggest flipping the contract to an experienced investor, Learn then start doing on your own . 

Good Luck 

@Bob Stevens thanks for the input that wasn't requested. I have been learning and everyone has to start somewhere. If I have the money to learn from my first deal and you say I'm 100% not ready, how the hell are you supposed to start anything in your life?! Again, thanks, but I'll keep asking questions, and learning from the people with a positive attitude.

Lincoln Park requires ext/int inspections to get a rental license. They may be doing ext only right now due to COVID. 

LP is also crazy when it comes to concrete - where most cities allow you to patch cracks, LP wants you to replace!

Regarding your attempts to avoid spending $300-$400 on an inspection"

1) City inspections are NOT a replacement. They are looking for health & saftey issues only and it states on all their paperwork you can't sue them for missing something.

2) We've been doing this since 1994 and we still pay for inspections - why do you think we don't try to penny-pinch on inspections?

@Tom West Tom if you do not  even know there is a POS in the city, you are not ready.  I am trying to help you not get buried .  I had to learn the hard way.  I tell people what  they need to hear vs want. again YOU ARE NOT ready .Flip the contract, learn from they experienced person, I am NOT trying to  " put you down " I have done about 500 flips in the Cleveland markets but it took time to learn the " system "  .  All the best to you